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Tragedy Strikes Just Days Before Kentucky Derby

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The fatalities of four horses in the days preceding Saturday’s Kentucky Derby have cast a shadow over Louisville’s renowned Churchill Downs.

Churchill Downs issued a news release on Wednesday stating that two horses, Parents Pride and Chasing Artie, perished without a determined cause of death.

Parents Pride passed away on Saturday after collapsing. Tuesday, Chasing Artie perished of a similar collapse.

Two additional horses, Take Charge Briana and Derby hopeful Wild on Ice, sustained injuries and were euthanized, according to the release.

On all four animals, necropsies are being performed.

“While a series of events like this is highly unusual, it is completely unacceptable,” Churchill Downs said in its statement. “We take this very seriously and acknowledge that these troubling incidents are alarming and must be addressed.

“We feel a tremendous responsibility to our fans, the participants in our sport and the entire industry to be a leader in safety and continue to make significant investments to eliminate risk to our athletes. We have full confidence in our racing surfaces and have been assured by our riders and horsemen that they do as well.”

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Saffie Joseph Jr., who trained Parents Pride and Chasing Artie, stated that the turf at the track, which is new, is not to blame.

“We’re going to have to figure out, ‘What’s the reason?’” he said. “I don’t think it’s bad fortune. It’s not about that, to happen twice. … I don’t have an answer right now. I wish I did.

“Something’s not right. These horses, it wasn’t because of injury. They left the gate and didn’t even try and then dropped down. … Theories aren’t going to help. We need facts.”

Joseph stated that what occurred defies the odds.

More on this story via The Western Journal:

“This is something that doesn’t happen. I’m shattered, basically, because I know it can’t happen. The odds of it happening twice is in the trillions. I run almost 4,000 horses and it’s never happened. It doesn’t make sense,” he said, according to WDRB-TV. CONTINUE READING…

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